Campus leaders have conflicting views of diversity at CU
Believe it or not, diversity rates on the CU campus have increased. While some feel the university is doing as much as possible to increase diversity rates, others feel the university is not doing enough.
The Office of Diversity and Equity was established in 1998 to present a strategic plan for diversity. Within the office are many different programs for different student affairs. These programs have made a huge difference, for instance, the graduation rates for students of color have increased by 20 percent since 1998.
“I do feel there is a diversity issue on this campus and it is not being addressed as it should be,” said Guadalupe Loredo, a senior double majoring in international affairs and ethnic studies. “(the university) is trying to educate people that are unaware of diversity rather than bringing people of diversity in. There should be an outreach to different high schools that Chicano and African-American students go to.”
To address Loredo’s proposal, Christine Yoshinaga, the Vice President and Vice Chancellor of the Office of Diversity and Equity, said it had a lot to do with the high schools themselves.
“The percentage of resident freshman of color has not increased over time,” Yoshinaga said. “One reason being the high schools have low graduation rates for students of color.”
According to Yoshinaga, there are many other aspects contributing to the lack of diversity.
“One of the challenges we have is about half of the student body is out of state students,” Yoshinaga said. “20 percent or more of the freshman in-state students are students of diverse backgrounds, only a small percent of out of state students come from diverse backgrounds and a lot of this has to do with the out of state cost. There is also not as much of an attraction to CU because it is not viewed as a diverse campus.”
Yoshinaga also explained that there are not many scholarships for in-state students, white or of color, so it is hard to help bring in diversity. The numbers; however, have increased. In 1998, 434 residents of color got a bachelors degree and in 2006, 603 were awarded bachelor degrees.
Yoshinaga emphasized that the lack of graduation rates is not necessarily due to grades, but is rather a result of socio-economic circumstances.
Anthea Johnson, the Co-Director of the Multicultural Engineering Program, said that many students involved in the National Society of Black Engineers feel they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t have NSBE.
Loredo feels she has found a family unit on campus with the Movimiento Esudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and was relieved to find this organization so she wouldn’t feel like an outcast.
Loredo said she doesn’t think CU’s image can really change. It is hard to tell whether CU’s diversity issue will become less prevalent.
“I think we can do as much as we possible can to change the views of the CU campus,” Loredo said. “However, that image is already there.”
Johnson has a more positive outlook on the process.
“I think there is always more that could be done, but I am really proud of what the organizations are trying to do,” Johnson said.
Yoshinaga feels there are many factors that have to change in order for the diversity rates to change.
“No one program can do it; it takes the dedication of the entire campus,” Yoshinaga said. “(The Office of Diversity and Equity) alone can not change the climate of the campus, unfortunately some of these changes are slow.”
Contact Campus Press Staffwriter Molly Gasiewicz at Molly.Gasiewicz@thecampuspress.com